Musings: World Change

Today’s topic is: “If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?”

This question instantly reminded me of the 1986 Saturday Night Live skit when Steve Martin makes his “Holiday Wishes”. It is hilarious (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can watch it here).

While children singing in harmony, $30 million a month, all-encompassing power, tons of sex, and revenge against enemies might seem like solid ideas, I pick…

be kind

If I could change one thing about the world, I would have everyone be kind. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Be kind to the planet.

Just imagine all of the positive effects that would come from this single change. No more war, no more hatred. More understanding, more friendliness, more generousness, more patience, more compassion. If everyone were kind, I’d be very proud to be a human.

The idea of “one planet, one people” makes a lot of sense to me.

Many chapters ago, I was obsessively passionate about environmental issues, especially recycling. In the late 1990s, my part-time job during college was running the recycling program for all of the dorms at the University of Arizona. I also participated in the unglamorous analytical research for the Garbage Project, which used classical archeological methods to understand modern-day consumption habits. And while my contributions didn’t make a huge impact, getting my hands dirty made it feel like we were at least moving in the right direction.

In 2015, when Swedish student Oskar Pernefeldt created a flag that could represent the entire planet Earth, I instantly fell in love with the idea and the simple, yet beautiful design.


Here is his official explanation of the design: “Centered in the flag, seven rings form a flower – a symbol of the life on Earth. The rings are linked to each other, which represents how everything on our planet, directly or indirectly, are linked. The blue field represents water which is essential for life – also as the oceans cover most of our planet’s surface.” Isn’t that wonderful?!


Of course, encouraging people to be kind isn’t a new concept. Many great thinkers have been promoting this for millenia (if you can believe what you read on the internet).

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
~ Plato ~ 400 BCE

“Be kind and compassionate to one another.”
~ Ephesians 4:32  ~ 60 A.D.

“If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.”
~ Mother Teresa ~ 1910-1997

“Be kind whenever possible… it is always possible.”
~ Dalai Lama ~ 1935-

“Be kind to one another.”
~ Ellen Degeneres ~ 1958-

Unfortunately, I don’t have a genie in a lamp or a magic wand that can change human behavior on a global scale. So until I get one, I will listen to Gandhi and change my own behavior.


And I will do my best to teach my children so they will also be their kindest every day, to themselves, to others, and to the planet.


What would you change? Share your idea in the comments.

~ Phoebe DeCook

(P.S. If you missed previous Musings, you can binge-read from the beginning.)


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